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The Friendly Fox

Christy Clowes with wild fox feeding from his hand by night.

A very clever fox has very quickly caught on to a regular supply of food, provided by two young visitors to the town, brothers Christy and Conor Clowes, who on noticing the fox in the vicinity of their home, left out some food. Within a very short time, the normally very shy and wary animal, was taking food from the boys hands every night. This is most unusual for any wild animal to make such close human contact.

Conor Clowes with wild fox feeding from his hand by day.

Died Recently
The death has occurred of Kathleen (Boland) Gleeson, Moyglass, on 15th August. Remains will leave McCarthy's Funeral Parlour at 7.30pm on Thursday 17th August for St. Joseph the Worker Church, Moyglass. Requiem Mass at 11.30am on Friday followed by burial in the adjoining cemetery.

The death has occurred suddenly on 13th August, aged 63, of Dick 'Richard' O'Brien, Leinster Road West, Dublin, and formerly from The Square, Fethard. Remains will leave McCarthy's Funeral Parlour, Fethard, at 7pm on Wednesday 16th August, for Holy Trinity Parish Church Fethard. Requiem Mass at 11am on Thursday followed by burial at Calvary Cemetery.

Hunting News
The Tipperary Foxhounds held their Annual Puppy Show at the Kennels, Tullamaine, on Saturday 22nd July.  New Tipperary huntsman, Derry Donegan, had the young entry in excellent order on which he deserved to be complimented.  He certainly has bonded well with the pack since taking up his duties on 1st May, which is the hallmark of every good huntsman and augers well for a good 2006/’07 season.  Derry was very well assisted on the night by his wife Wendy.  Judges on the evening were Mr Oliver-Ryan-Purcell M.F.H. and Meath huntsman Mr Kenneth Henry, a multi red rosette winner at the M.F.H.A. — an annual All-Ireland championship hound show in Stradbally.

The young entry this season consisted of 7 couple dog hounds, 8 couple bitches.  After much deliberation they choose the following prizewinners.

Dogs: 1st ‘Hallmark’ walked by Jimmy Hutton; 2nd ‘Parrot’ walked by Liz Grant; 3rd ‘Harvester’ walked by The Kennels.

Bitches: 1st ‘Craven’ walked by The Kennels; 2nd ‘Cradle’ walked by Mrs Fitzgerald; 3rd ‘Hannibal’ walked by the Kennels.

Show champion was ‘Craven’ and the biggest cheer of the night was reserved for Pat O’Brien when Derry called on a very reluctant Pat to come forward and accept the Champion Trophy.

Mr John Ryan, Chairman Tipperary Foxhounds, thanked the landowners, puppy walkers, and all Tipperary hunt supporters for the support during the past season and look forward to the continued support for the incoming Master’s committee and staff. The evening concluded with the most enjoyable usual ‘Puppy Show Tea’ supplied by the ladies committee.

Head Shave and Chest Wax
On this coming Friday, 18th August, several brave Fethard men will bare their chests for a ‘chest wax’ while others will remover their caps for a ‘head shave’. These willing victims — John Morrissey, Joe O’Meara, Michael Walsh, Alan McCormack and friends — have agreed their faith all for a good cause. The fundraising event, which will take place in Butler’s Sports Bar at 9pm, is in aid if Fethard Heartsafe Programme which will provide finance to help the purchase of defibrillators to be placed in strategic locations throughout the town.

Please come along and support the lads. A great craic is guaranteed.

Fethard GAA News
Our Senior Footballers had a good run out in the Munster League when losing to St Michael's in Cork City last week on a score line, Fethard 0-12, St Michael's 1-11. On this Sunday, 20th August, they play Killenaule in the South Championship quarterfinal in Kilsheelan at 6.45pm. The best of luck to all involved.

Our Intermediate hurlers continue with challenge games in preparation for their upcoming match against St Mary's due to be played in the next two weeks.

Minor B Hurlers had a good win against Ballybacon Grange last week to stay in contention for a semifinal spot (match report on Nationalist). The score was, Fethard 4-5, Ballybacon Grange 1-5.

Fixtures for this week: we play Kilsheelan on Friday 18th in Monroe at 7.00pm. A win will see us safe. A loss could see us just miss out, depending on other results, with a draw giving us a possible play off. Congratulations do all who did well in their exam results due out this week.

Our Junior B Footballers were also out this week against Commercials. Result and match report next week.

Visitor from USA

Phil Keating, formerly from Rathsallagh and a former employee at Coolmoyne Creamery, paid a surprise visit to Fethard last weekend from USA with his son, also called Phil. In 1952 Phil left Ireland and moved to work in the USA. On his visit to Fethard he met up with old friends from 'Let Fly Coolmoyne' days and had a great evening recalling old times in the Fethard Arms with Jim Barry and Joe Ahearne. L to R: Jim Barry, Phil Keating (Junior), Phil Keating (Senior), Nora Ahearn and Joe Ahearne.

Youth Officer Appointed
Fethard & Killusty Community Council are happy to announce that a Youth Officer has been appointed. The position has been filled by Ms Suzie O’Shea, who will take up her position in Fethard on 8th September. The temporary position, advertised in conjunction with Foróige, was to help implement the findings of the Youth Development Survey undertaken by Tipperary Institute for the Community Council.

Bon Voyage
Bon Voyage to Billy Butler and Lilly Maher who are leaving for Australia this week. Both Billy and Lilly are hoping to spend 12 months working abroad and I’m sure they will be dearly missed by their many friends in Fethard, who also wish them the best of luck on their journey and a safe return.

George Keeley Perpetual Cup

Billy Keeley, on behalf of the Keeley family from Clonmel, presenting the George Keeley Perpetual Cup to Billy Keane, Chairperson ONE (Organisation of National Ex-Servicemen and Women), who will use the cup for their annual Golf Classic which, this year, takes place in Carrick-on-Suir Golf Club on the 18th August. Back L to R: John Stewart, Tony McGarry, Mairead Keeley, Ruth Keeley, Aidan Keeley, Pat McGarry, P.J. Hassett, Margaret Hassett, Brendan Keeley, Mary Cassidy. Front L to R: Anne Butler, Billy Keeley, Billy Keane (Chairperson ONE) and Christy Kelly. Members of the Keeley family missing from photo are, Michael, Ger, Noel and Patricia.

Parking Tickets
A stranger alighting from her car in Fethard on Monday last enquired from a passing local as to where she would get a parking ticket.  She was highly amused with the reply when told, “You must be joking, they don’t park cars in Fethard — they abandon them!”

Annual Newsletter Articles
Items and photographs for inclusion in this year’s Annual Emigrants’ Newsletter are now requested. Please hand in your articles, typed if possible, to Joe Kenny, Rocklow Road, Fethard, or email to

Anything Goes!
Slievenamon Musical Society will promote a night of 'Anything Goes' fun in Cloneen Hall on Tuesday 22nd August at 8.15pm.  Why not come along and join in.

Ryder Cup

Kevin Burke, photographed with the Ryder Cup at the Garda Training Centre Templemore. Kevin, formerly from Redcity, Fethard, will shortly take up his new post in New Ross.

Fethard’s Castles
The following extract is from a typed book in possession by Michael Hall, Kyle, Drangan. Title is unknown, year of publication unknown, and author unknown. It appears to be from an article covering various towns in Tipperary, and the following refers to Fethard.

“Three eighteenth century picture maps show Fethard town with wall, wall-towers, and free-standing castles inside. The 1703 map depicts, in stylised form, five fortified gates and three tall, freestanding tower houses, all battlemented. One is the Templar’s castle; the other two were on the main street towards the west end of the town, but are no longer extant. The second map, dating from 1752, marks three structures as, “a good house, castle and yard” (this is Templar's Castle),”a Castle at Bierses gate” (now disappeared) and “a castle at North Gate” (still standing), three tower houses, and 10 or 11 (one is very rubbed) wall towers and gates, mainly roofed. It depicts all the structures that can be viewed today. While the detail may be too stylised to reveal the exact form of these castles, the maps seem only to commit sins of omission, rather than depict buildings which never existed. Fethard once must have had three internal tower houses, plus almost a dozen wall towers (NLI MS Maps of Fethard, p.p. 5,6,8).

For its size, Fethard seems to have better defended than any of the other towns; very likely this was because it lacked the power of an Archbishop or Earl, or a large population as at Clonmel, to protect it. An act of 1467-9, in effect a murage grant for repairing the walls, excused the people of Fethard from dues, as they were hard-pressed to maintain their numerous defences.

At times it may have been more of a military base than the southern towns; it suffered for the royal cause in revolts, and relived the garrisons of several strongholds in the area; and in 1607 was still a place of strength. Even Cromwell gave good terms of surrender rather than storm it in his usual way – some have said that this was because of the heavy rain, or because of imitation guns the townsmen mounted to bluff him (‘Notes’ of RSAI, p292), but the real reason could have been that he was wary of attacking so strong a town.
We know more about the civil life of Fethard castles than about any other urban tower houses in the country. A list of property, drawn up in 1663 but referring to the period before 1641, mentions Thomas Everard holding a castle, with half an acre of gardens belonging to it – the1752 map shows long, narrow gardens running from the backs of terraced buildings to the wall. James Hackett, another owner, had adjoining his tower, three stone houses, one Backhouse (bakehouse?), one Killhouse (?), one barn, and one small garden (“Proprietors of Fethard” p.6; NLI Maps of Fethard p.5), the same sort of structures as accompanied rural towers.

Presumably the owners did not keep large herds in the town, but were merchants who used the barn to store agricultural produce bought and sold in the town’s market. However, townsmen did not have economic interests totally separate from people without the walls; important men could own property in both town and country, and these may have treated their urban castles as “townhouses”.  Of the two men mentioned here, Hackett held a townland outside the town, and Nicholas Everard, head of the powerful Fethard family who held the other castle, was in 1638 seized of, “a castle or stone house” in Fethard, as well as a large amount of rural property, all within a convenient distance of the town, and the tower houses of Knockelly and Barrettstown.

The Templar’s Castle is the only one of the freestanding towers (built 1450) to survive, and has been noted several times in because of its peculiar architecture. One of the main oddities, lack of communication between storage and living areas, suggests that the former was a warehouse for commercial goods, rather than a place to keep domestic necessities. It has only two full storeys, plus a low loft and an attic, and in height resembles Murtagh’s “fortified houses” in the Pale; but unlike them, it has no large windows on the ground storey.

Immediately to its south is a heavy overgrown fortalice (Edmond’s Castle?), with only two storeys. A projecting garde-robe chute (a very rare feature) and an ogee window show it was a private residence, built astride the town walls. One author has guessed it could have been a bishop’s palace, or part of Fethard abbey (Fleming Town-walls, Frontispiece, p. 34).

It was clearly built at some period other than that of the wall; it lies flush with the wall, which makes it inefficient as a flanking tower. Another wall-tower, at the south west corner of the town, does project; again, it is not contemporary with the wall. Apart from a door giving onto the battlements it is very like a small rural tower house, with the top storey (of three) the main living area. There are two more fortifications on the wall – a round tower, probably not residential, and the north gate. This has a two-storeyed tower on one side and the remains of a room over the gate-passage, and could have been a private dwelling.”

Quilting the Armour

Cast of the 'Ned Kelly' play "Quilting the Armour - the story of the Kelly Women", co-written  by Brenda Addie, Jeannie Haughton  and Rosemary Johns from an idea by Helen Morris, photographed in the Abymill Theatre after the performance on Friday 11th August 2006. Back L to R: Peter Delaney, Colm McGrath, Anne Gleeson, Brian Guirey, Anne Williamson, Terry Cunningham, Vincent Murphy, John Shortall (musician). Front L to R: Brenda Addie (co-author), Catherine O'Flynn, Esther Byrne, Holly Williamson, Louise Kearney and Mia Treacy.

Co-author and director Brenda Addie, in conjunction with the Fethard Historical Society, brought her play, “Quilting the Armour — the story of the Kelly women”, from Australia, where it was conceived, to the Valley of Slievenamon, where the story has its roots.

Photographed at "Quilting the Armour - the story of the Kelly Women" in the Abymill Theatre are L to R: John O'Flynn, Helen Guirey, Maureen Guirey and Brian Guirey.

The play tells the story of the women in the Ned Kelly saga. Kelly has become a huge cultural icon in his native Australia. Most accounts of his life deal with the macho side of the story, the drinking, the fighting, the stealing and the killing of the police. This play delves a little deeper into the Kelly psyche and explores the female perspective in the story. The young Ned Kelly would have seen his mother and sisters subjected to abuse, abandonment and harassment, much of it coming from the police who were meant to be protecting them.

Photographed at "Quilting the Armour - the story of the Kelly Women" in the Abymill Theatre are L to R: Bríd Quinlivan, Niamh Quinlivan, Mia Treacy, Billy Treacy and Patricia (Quinlivan) Treacy.

The stage reading in the Abymill last Friday night was very a different piece of theatre  to the usual plays enacted there. The cast, brought together through an appeal for actors in the previous week’s paper, saw the script for the first time on Tuesday. Three days later they were part reading, part performing the play.

Photographed at "Quilting the Armour - the story of the Kelly Women" in the Abymill Theatre are L to R: Diana Stokes, Melissa and John Stokes, Teresa O'Brien, Declan Walsh, Marie O'Donnell and Margaret McErlean.

The reaction of the audience was very favourable, though a few people were expecting a more traditional play. It should be pointed out here that each member of the cast played a number of different characters, which may have given rise to some confusion.

Photographed at "Quilting the Armour - the story of the Kelly Women" in the Abymill Theatre are L to R: Joe Duggan, Esther Byrne, Eddie Cummins, Mary Cummins and Bridget Duggan.

Nevertheless, it was deemed a success, especially by the cast who enjoyed performing as never before. It was an interesting few days for all concerned and a great learning experience. Brenda explained that when the play was brought to Ned Kelly’s  home village of  Glenrowan in Australia, the village were divided in their thoughts about Kelly. After the performance, the anti Kelly inhabitants were more lenient towards him, having gained a new perspective on the story.  Most people who attended the reading in Fethard came away with a greater understanding of the Kelly story. Who knows, maybe next time they will try a full performance of the play?
— (VM)


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